Re: This ain't your royal rot.

1

You are composting the flies, right?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 8:28 PM
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1: No, they're protein, so, no? I don't understand the protein thing really. Basically, I was told no meat, but in this really weird way.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 8:29 PM
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Basically, I was told no meat, but in this really weird way.

Did someone mime it to you?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 8:32 PM
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3: A gentleman does not get mimed-to and tell.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 8:34 PM
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My experience of compost piles suggests that ur doin it wrong. But that belies your description, which sounds just right. Maybe it's because you live somewhere with humidity, while I live in a dessicated region? Anyway, not many flies on the compost piles out here. Value of this comment? None. Compost it.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 8:37 PM
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It's not the humidity. We had a pile of dog shit + pine needles and grass clippings composting in the Heart of Dixie, where the humidity can get to 150% on the dry days. No flies.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 8:41 PM
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I get flies in the house every summer. Last year, by way of extracting a promise to not use Raid, my wife performed truly heroic acts of fly-slaughter. The worst was when we went away for a week and came home to find little brown-rice-looking pupae on the floor. We cleaned up as many as we could, but within days there was an explosion. We'd get a dozen or so trapped between the window and the screen and just leave them to starve or roast, then sweep 'em out.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 8:42 PM
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Live-blogging: just killed another fly! Because I have a few copies of the Washington Post around, I now have a dead fly on a picture of Governor Mark Sanford and another on an article about Donald Rumsfeld. It's, like, poetic, man.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 8:45 PM
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You're under 30 and you subscribe to a newspaper?


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 8:47 PM
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9: And I've subscribed since the tender age of 18. I also wear argyle socks unironically.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 8:50 PM
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He cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath--"The pacing... the pacing!"


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 8:55 PM
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8: a photo.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 8:58 PM
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How hot does your compost get? If it isn't properly set up for maximal microbial decay, other things -- eg FLIES -- will thrive.

Microbes like a mix of 'green and brown' (nitrogen and carbon), and enough oxygen, and moisture damp-not-dripping, and they like everything mixed together for a while and when it gets going they would like to be left alone. (You will want two bins, one for the 'going on' and one for 'working up'. Oh, and a third for 'storing dry carbon'. Sorry.)

Tell!


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 9:09 PM
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The worst was when we went away for a week and came home to find little brown-rice-looking pupae on the floor.

The worst is when you go to close the garbage bag and the larvae start trying to climb out. Aaargh.

I had a brief infestation last summer, I forget why, but I discovered that if you turn off all the lights in the house at sunset, the flies will gather at a window and you can just let them out. After doing this 3 days in a row I had no flies. There are always a few stupid flies who can't find the opening and these deserve to die.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 9:17 PM
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How hot does your compost get?

Uh, like you want me to stick a thermometer in? I'll do it, if need be. Air temps have been in the 80s and low 90s, and we're well above normal rain levels, so lots of humidity.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 9:17 PM
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Meat in your compost will attract scavengers. Your compost will be ripped apart by tiny, filthy animals. You think the flies are bad?

As for the flies, is your compost drum, you know, sealed? It's my understanding that a key component to getting the internal temperature hot enough is to seal it and rotate it or something. If Ron Paul hadn't destroyed your roommates' minds they would probably be able to research this but instead I imagine them sitting around waiting for the privilege of paying a per-usage fee for the internet to offset the horror of having the government develop it in the first place, saying to themselves, "Just wait - once this baby's metered it is on!" I say this in perfectly good humor, though, seriously.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 9:18 PM
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16: It's got a lid but no bottom. Laydeez.

And you made me laugh.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 9:21 PM
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Let's pretend I have a large plastic trash can with some holes drilled in the sides into which I've been dumping kitchen and yard waste, in roughly equal measure, though the winter doesn't give us much yard waste, for about a year now. If it were now completely full, but the top were by no means done, what would my best course of action be?


Posted by: dob | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 9:24 PM
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I looked for flystrips or flypaper once. As far as I can tell, it does not exist. Not at Target, or any sort of Löws or Home Depot, or Walmart, or a pharmacy, or an independent hardware store. Someone told me it might be found at a horse stable supply store, but I don't think one of those is on any bus route I know.

At Home Depot there were these four-sided rectangular flystrip things which looked like birdhouses. I hung a couple up in the kitchen. Flies landed on them and then took off and flew away. I guess the flies weren't actually able to walk around on them, but for every hundred times a fly landed on one, it got stuck maybe once.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 9:29 PM
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Horse barns do often have fly strips still so they probably sell them at tack shops. Two types of people are mostly involved in equestrian activities- the very wealthy and the rural truck-driving sort. Neither much take the bus, which is partly why you're not likely to see a tack store on a bus route.


Posted by: Matt (not the famous one) | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 9:39 PM
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I can find flystrips, but the flies ignore them.

Friends of mine have had good results with these. Disposing of the bag of dead flies isn't fun, though.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 9:49 PM
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IME, which includes composting for a co-op that produced around half a five gallon bucket of kitchen waste on an average day, you can be pretty casual about the green/brown ratio without things getting bad. The key to inoffensive compost is oxygen. You need to turn your compost over around twice a week if it's getting smelly; if oxygen is getting to the bottom of the pile, it won't stink or attract flies.

I'm not clear on your setup, but if you're just putting stuff in a plastic bin, dumping it out and shoveling it back in should work,


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 9:51 PM
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Oh, I missed 17. Lift the bin off the compost, then, put it back down and shovel the compost in upside down.

and to 18, it's probably only a week or two from done if you stop putting in new stuff. I'd dump it out and make a pile on the ground, and turn it once a week for a couple of weeks, and it'll be done enough to use.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 9:53 PM
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What the heck was I thinking? The very nature of flystrips, being something I'm most familiar with from Warner Brothers cartoons, cast all thoughts of the possibility of shopping online from my mind. These are the things that do not work at all even one bit.

"Tack shops", that's the word!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 9:55 PM
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(Poking airholes in the compost should also help if you don't have the energy to really turn the whole thing over. But it's not as effective IME.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 10:00 PM
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dump it out and make a pile on the ground, and turn it once a week for a couple of weeks, and it'll be done enough to use.

We've done this maneuver once, but somewhere along the line came the advice not to do this bit too much. We can try again. For science. And the hatred of flies.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 10:00 PM
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My compost bin is a couple of cardboard boxes out back. Which I never stir or do anything to. And I'm a little lazy about maybe sometimes some catfood or other verboten thingies, like stale chocolate chip cookies, gets in there too. But there doesn't seem to be a fly problem. IOW, I have no idea how to help you there, Stanley.

There *is* a fly problem in the house, though, dammit. Probably either b/c of the little yogurt container I use for compost, which doesn't always get dumped when *other* people do the dishes. Or the fucking cats' food. We got fly strips at the 99 cent store. And they've caught some, but not enough. Vacuuming can get rid of the ones congregating at the windows in one fell swoop.

Flies are evil little fuckers.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 10:03 PM
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Twice a week might be over the top -- that's reacting to flies and bad smell. If it's perking along inoffensively, once a week should be enough. But in the summer, at least once a week.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 10:06 PM
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Cookies should be okay, unless you put meat in your cookies.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 10:07 PM
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Here you go, Stan: build a trap.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 10:08 PM
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I thought you weren't supposed to do fats or whatever. Like butter or greasy things. But I ignore all that. (There is also virtually no yard waste in there, b/c I have yet to start attacking the yard in earnest.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 10:09 PM
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27: Why not just open the window? They want to fly out. I really couldn't deal with a vacuum cleaner full of flies. It would be like Satan's vacuum cleaner.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 10:09 PM
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28: Excellent. We'll flip it tomorrow and see what happens. It does in fact stink like holy high hell. I don't know who told them not to flip it. I blame Ron Paul.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 10:10 PM
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Oh, this is probably obvious, but you never know. Aside from properly turning it, when you put fresh kitchen waste on the pile, you should shovel a little compost over it -- bury it a bit. You don't need to be obsessive about it, but you don't want the layer on top to be all fresh rotting garbage, rather then half-cooked compost.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 10:11 PM
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32: Screens. And b/c we don't have a/c, I'm not that into leaving the windows closed to starve the fuckers.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 10:13 PM
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I think if you make a perfect compost pile, with the ideally balanced layers of green and brown and coarse and fine materials, and just the right amount of moisture, it doesn't need turning, which might be what your roommates were shooting for. But that's really tricky -- I've never managed it -- and if you're getting the flies and stink, you need to turn. But turning solves everything, and really fast. And it's satisfying, too.

I miss having a compost pile. Buck won't let me do the worm thing in our apartment.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 10:15 PM
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Okay, this is going to sound ridiculous, but before you try fly strips, have you tried hanging a bag of water over your doorways?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 10:15 PM
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30: I appreciate your effort, B, and if it comes to that, sure. But for the moment I prefer thwacking flies with stories about Republicans. It just feels right.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 10:20 PM
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Buck won't let me do the worm thing in our apartment.

Is the "worm thing" the worm-poop fertilizer thing? I have a co-worker who's on about it.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 10:23 PM
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Doing the worm thing takes a lot of space and doesn't work that well with carpets.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-29-09 10:34 PM
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you guys, I have to share some OT excitement and confusion. someone just offered me the chance to rent MY DREAM HOUSE. it's right down the street from where I live now, but quieter, and it's huge and beautiful, and it has ITS OWN POOL. for SGD$5000 a month. which is crazily below market, it ought to cost $8000 minimum and could probably pull in $10,000. its one of the rare and hard-to-get-into "black and white" houses that were built by the colonial government for civil servants, with high ceilings, and fans, and old-growth teak floors. I have tried to rent one at special low rates for years, but the waiting list is so long that they aren't even accepting new people. I know the person whose house it is, and she's spending all her time in thailand and I think might like to have a responsible person in her house rather than a stranger. the thing is...it's still too expensive. we currently pay $4300 a month, but if husband x gets tenure he will actually see his pay drop, because although the salary will be more there won't be an expat housing allowance. so really we should be planning to move to a cheaper place, not a more expensive one. BUT HOLY SHIT IT IS THE MOST AMAZING HOUSE EVAR. and if husband x gets tenure and we stay here for the long term then I may be able to live in this house for years and years, until my kids need to go to college. he will eventually get raises and suchlike, one imagines. or maybe my business will actually become profitable (it is cash flow positive but not making returns on investment.) in any case I have enough money to pay for it, it just means I am dipping into my savings all the time. but I'm going to inherit lots more money soon, so maybe I don't care? but I don't want to be a profligate wastrel who spends all her money for no reason. I recognize that some people have real problems, where as I just have fake rich people problems. still, I don't know what to do. my head is telling me that spending money now in the vague expectation of spending less money later is a fool's game, and I have to just go for spending less now, inasmuch as now is the later of those previous times...but it's SO incredibly gorgeous, and if she puts it on the market it will go instantly. fuck. it. has. a. pool.
this is so the least sympathetic problem of all time that I hesitate to post it on the grounds that it makes me look like an asshole, but if people started worrying about looking like assholes, where would our precious blog be then? nowhere.
I have the strong intuition that people are going to tell me to suck it up and move to a cheaper place.
but look at this not nearly as nice house, with only 2 bedrooms.
or this one of comparable size with no pool?
this is a good comparandum, and note that it is $11,500?


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 12:52 AM
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this is a good comparandum

love.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 1:02 AM
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Ooh, I saw a black and white profiled in the NYT somewhat recently. It was gorgeous. I say go for it! But I'm a profligate wastrel.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 1:07 AM
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woohoo! up with profligacy! of course, I have to find out about the tenure thing before doing anything. we were supposed to find out "in june". she glanced at the calendar, balefully.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 1:18 AM
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oh yeah, I forgot that. here is a post that links to the NYT article. the house in question is not as nice as that one, needless to say, but it is similar. hm, looking at the slideshow, slide 7 is of the office space/family room at the top of the stairway, and is pretty much the same as in the house I'm slavering over.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 1:23 AM
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ours would also be in a more built-up area, so wouldn't have the cobra problems. shudder.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 1:24 AM
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I have a mini-compost heap which I'm told I need to turn, but I'm more than slightly nervous because prodding it, it stinks of anaerobic bacteria.

Really. Disgusting.

I have it in a compost bin with a lid and no top, and I've been thinking for some time I should really just, well, leave it alone for a year, maybe get a second compost bin, but I have such a tiny garden a second one seemed extravagant.

Also they might breed. You never know.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 1:26 AM
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Ought you to be thinking of it as a long-term prospect? What if the owner changes jobs and returns to the land of talking beasts?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 3:25 AM
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Do it, alameida.

You only live once, in this life.

Plus, it would make for a great unfogged party place.

OT: I now have a friend living in Hong Kong, another in Cambodia, and a college roommate in Singapore, I really need to make a Grand Tour of that area of the world.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 3:30 AM
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worm composting==fun. I have a box in my classroom and three dishpans full of worms in my basement. They get dried leaves and random scraps every couple weeks and seem very happy.


Posted by: Shadrack | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 5:29 AM
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We tried the worm composting one and it got infested with bugs.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 5:33 AM
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47: It only stinks because it's unloved and uncared for. Turn it over -- it'll smell while you're doing it, but the smell will clear up once you're done, and in a week or two you can turn it out on your garden and start the process over.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 5:45 AM
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Those houses are gorgeous, alameida.

How's your business going? Do you think that you might be able to supplement your family's income? Because, if you can, I say go for it.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 5:54 AM
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Yeah, BG has the right question, I think -- is this likely to keep you draining savings indefinitely, or is there a prospect of being able to pay for it out of current income sometime in the not too distant future? Even if it's going to be draining savings, are we talking about an amount that's significant compared to your total capital? The house is stunning -- if it's not going to really change your economic position for the worse in the long term, I'd go for it.

(If it will -- eh, the place you're living now sounds awfully nice too.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 6:01 AM
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An easier fly trap than the one linked to in 30: get a decent sized bottle or jar. Put about a quarter inch of soapy water in the bottom. Then stick in a chunk of something that flies like, e.g. some watermelon or canteloupe rind, big enough to stick up above the layer of soapy water.

Then roll a funnel out of some newspaper or a page from a magazine. Make the hole at the bottom of it pretty small. Use tape so that the funnel retains its shape. Stick that in the bottle or jar.

Flies will be able to fly into the jar, but will find it hard to impossible to fly back out. They'll either fall into the water during all the buzzing about against the clear sides of the jar, or just because they get tuckered out.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 6:36 AM
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55. Or you could keep some of these in pots, which work on the same principle, but are more fun.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 6:48 AM
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56: Meat-eating plants smell terrible and don't eat enough flies to control the population. But they are satisfying to have.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 6:51 AM
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56: Right. I left out the step where you add the contents of the jar to your smoothie for a protein boost.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 6:56 AM
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Try vinegar. It's the second best way to catch flies.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 7:15 AM
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I added vinegar to my smoothie, but it got less smooth.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 7:16 AM
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Was it a roughie?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 7:19 AM
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60. ??????!!!! What else was in it?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 7:20 AM
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Goldang it!


Vivan Las difuntas-moscas


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 7:21 AM
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To make a roughie, take a cup of gravel with the bristles of a broom, and add to that a cup of chopped asbestos. Put it all in the blender, but don't turn the blender on. Serve over chilled nails.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 7:21 AM
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The English are easily shocked, ned. You should be more careful what you say.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 7:22 AM
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You too, heebie.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 7:22 AM
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The Orange Roughie, an edgy new product from the makers of the Julius.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 7:23 AM
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You're advised to stay away from the brown acid orange roofies though.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 7:28 AM
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Help me! Help me!


Posted by: Senor B. | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 7:29 AM
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Help me! Help me!


Posted by: Senor B. | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 7:31 AM
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woo! I just got a call from the woman whose place it is, and it sounds like she's willing to drop the rent some since I know her! now there's just that pesky little detail about finding out whether my husband gets tenure or not, since we aren't going to bother to move if not... seriously, they said we might find out in april, then may, then they promised it would be by june. I am tearing my hair out. at least, after we prodded them, they gave him a guarantee of employment through the end of december, but we don't actually know if that will be at a slightly lower salary than now (due to what I said above) or a drastically lower salary (like just one semester of being an adjunct, basically.) it'll just be an exciting surprise when he gets his paycheck in two weeks! oh well, it's only a matter of what fucking country we're going to be living in in 6 months, it's not like I need to know or make school arrangements or anything. grrrrrrr.
but, we feel chances are quite good, and if it does come through I am going to be moving to my dream house, laydeez. up with modest amounts of profligacy, and swimming pools!!


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 7:34 AM
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Alameida, that sounds fantastic. I'd be tempted too. Heck, if it is possible that the owner will return in a few years, I'd go for it. You'd know that the extra outlay would not be forever. Even if the owner stayed away, if the extra cost is not a big suck on capital I'd go for it.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 7:36 AM
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Keeping my fingers crossed for you, alameida.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 7:37 AM
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Alameida, Don't count your bubbes before they hatch.


Posted by: James Thurber | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 7:38 AM
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it's the anxious waiting in a state of non-counting that's fucking me up. just tell us already! I will honestly be OK either way, but I would really, really like to know.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 7:40 AM
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Anxiously awaiting big news? Perfect time to cool off with a refreshing Orange Roughie!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 7:48 AM
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I added vinegar to my smoothie, but it got less smooth.

I added feet to water, just to see what could be seen, and the water, it got dirty, and the feet they got quite clean.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 8:46 AM
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mmmm, you can really taste the cubical shards of broken safety glass!


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 8:47 AM
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I don't want to diminish my own profligacy by saying this but surely any amount of money, regardless of the luxury it buys or doesn't, is worth decreasing the incidence of cobras.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 8:54 AM
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On the other hand, surely everyone needs a good reason to acquire a pet mongoose. Or even a pair of them, despite the difficulty of referring to them in the plural.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 9:02 AM
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Or even a pair of them, despite the difficulty of referring to them in the plural.

"Wait, what's chewing off your genitals?" "You know, mon...geese...s!" "Geese, huh? Ha ha, very funny." *click*


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 9:05 AM
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I hadn't realized that was a hazard - I thought they were pretty snake-focused.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 9:06 AM
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82: vaginonormativist.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 9:07 AM
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"I AM SICK OF THESE MOTHERFUCKING COBRAS IN MY MOTHERFUCKING DREAM HOUSE!"


Posted by: M/tch L. M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 9:09 AM
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While noting with surprise that 69 and 70 haven't been deleted, I once again returned to this comment, the one that might have made me laugh more than any other this year.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 9:10 AM
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Hey, you've got the same middle initial as the actor from Pulp Fiction.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 9:10 AM
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I wonder if you could use a mongoose for a new version of Ferret Legging.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 9:14 AM
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I would love to have a pet mongoose! you can get them in bangkok. you have to hand-raise them from kits or they will bite viciously, and we couldn't have any cats because they would kill them. and they're fearsome and territorial. but hey, no cobras! I would name one rikki-tikki-tavi and the other jackie-mackly-paisley-posey.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 9:15 AM
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Oh, please do! Just for the awesome names.

Is "rikki-tikki" some general prefix?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 9:17 AM
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I'm not sure if in the kipling story it means anything in particular. good night, all. I have to get up early tomorrow. well, by 10, anyway.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 9:26 AM
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Is "rikki-tikki" some general prefix?

Kipling. "The Jungle Book".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 9:27 AM
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I think it's just onomatopoeia for the noise a mongoose makes - "rikk-tchikk-tchikk-tikk-tikk!"


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 9:27 AM
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Where does Rikki-tikki-tembo take place?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 9:32 AM
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A friend of mine has a couple of pet meerkats. They are amazingly cute and curious pets. Also, they bite.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 9:32 AM
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I have mere cats.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 9:33 AM
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93: Imaginary China, isn't it?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 9:33 AM
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Having the pool will make your house a magnet for the kid's friends, which means you get to spend more time with your kids, plus you get to watch them have all manner of fun with their friends. You also get to be something of a collective mom for the kid's friends you'll be feeding, yelling at, first-aiding, and all, which is a plus or minus depending on your personality.

Much sympathy on the being dragged out forever over tenure thing. I've been the kid waiting and waiting and waiting to find out if $parent's contract got renewed or not (IOW am I going to get ripped away from my friends), while third world petty tyrants twiddle their fingers. It sucks.

My suggestion is to keep your powder dry until you know about tenure and then go for it if the house is available. You can economize on other stuff, like food and clothing. If tenure arrives after the house is already rented, release cobras on the property until the renters quit.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 9:34 AM
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93: It's "Rikki-tikki-tavi", unless I'm missing a joke, and it's set in India; the animal characters have Indian names (Nag means "snake" in Hindi; Darzee and Chuchundra are Indian names). Also (quick check) it actually says it's set in Segowlee cantonment (now Sugauli).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 9:43 AM
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98: Tikki-Tikki-Tembo is a different story -- a children's book set in China. It's a fable about why Chinese names are short -- the title character is a little boy with a name that starts "Tikki-tikki-tembo" and then goes on for a long time; he falls in a well and nearly drowns because it takes his brother so long to tell people what happened.

Rikki-tikki-tavi is, as you say, a Kipling story about a mongoose set in India.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 9:51 AM
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Huh, I misremembered it then. "Tikki-tikki-tembo-no-sa-rembo-chari-beri-ruchi-pip-peri-pembo has fallen down the well!" said Pip, totally out of breath.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 9:54 AM
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I say go for the house. After a while, huge gains in quality of life are increasingly hard to come by. So long as you know you'll continue to appreciate it, you should snag it. (Says the woman with the biases of a secure upper middle class childhood.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 10:06 AM
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59: not true.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 10:15 AM
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95: My cats are not mere.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 10:18 AM
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I have meower cats.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 10:28 AM
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Yay, the real estate thread, just when we're deciding whether to make an offer on slightly-dreamier-than-current house.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 12:19 PM
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Jesurgislac: if it smells anaerobic, it's asking to be turned! And maybe have some dry brown material added, if you have any handy, to fluff it up.

It will be awful the first time. Make a pitcher of something you like to lie down and drink after.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 12:23 PM
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You can help prevent, if not completely eliminate, fly colonies in your compost if you freeze your compostables before chucking them on the pile. This may sound crazy, but I find that putting the veggie rinds and such in a plastic bag in the freezer rather than a bucket on the counter is easier and less fragrant, too.


Posted by: adamhenne | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 5:51 PM
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Hrmm. 12 x 700 SGD is 8400. So, if you have that much on tap, it seems like a no-brainer. Of course, if Husband X winds up in dire tenure straits due to Narnia's export situation/economy, that would change. But in that case, it seems like running away is going to be the big option, so length of lease seems the issue here. Or you could just wait.

max
['I'm late, I'm late...']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 06-30-09 7:29 PM
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106: I had, in fact, concluded I needed to turn it. I just was so not looking forward to it. Nor are my neighbours, probably. If they knew about it. Perhaps I should wait till the day before I go away on holiday.

Need dry brown material.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 3:16 AM
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still haven't heard on the tenure. sigh. I think we will probably go for the house if it comes through, but I'll just tell my friend we wouldn't be able to move before start of september in any case. (we're leaving for the states in a week for one month) if she absolutely has to get a tenant in there sooner then so be it. the thing I can help her with is that she wants to sell a bunch of the stuff in the house, furniture and paintings, and she doesn't want to have to bother with it. I can take nice photos and put them on craigslist etc. her maid is here in town but doesn't have computer access/knowledge so would be hard-pressed to organize a decent sale. hopefully I can come back and do that for her during august and then move into the newly emptied house in sept. my maid will be in the philippines till aug 22 and I don't want to try and move without her...having live-in help is the single greatest thing about living in narnia.

basically it all comes down to the tenure thing, lah. I am getting the feeling we may not even find out before we leave town for the states. and it's not like we can badger them about it; the relevant committee will decide when they decide. it has now been one year since my husband turned in his tenure folder. to some degree I am disheartened by the delay since it seems to augur worse for his chances, but we always knew he was a mildly unorthodox candidate. narnians are very conservative and prefer orthodoxy, unfortunately. on the bright side, think how terrified we would be if we didn't have money to fall back on and we were waiting all this time. it will be a blow if hudband x loses his job, but not a crippling one. I guess I've told you guys my back-up plan is that we're moving to bali for a year; it could be worse.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 4:26 AM
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105: where are you NPH? prices in most areas have quite a bit further to fall, imho. my brother was considering buying in DC and I told him to wait till 2010 or 2011, and unless you're moving to stockton, ca that would be my advice to you also. in the highest priced areas the declines have only been 10% or so, but they aren't immune as adjacent, cheaper areas fall and fall. even san francisco is in for some nasty shocks--or happy ones if you are a buyer. for whatever free advice on the internet is worth. here in narnia the price/rent ratio is so out of whack that I'm resigned to renting forever, and possibly buying a vacation/second home when the inevitable declines hit bali and thailand. lots of ethnic chinese buyers from the surrounding countries park their money in narnia real estate, paying cash money up front and having a secure place to retreat to if things get ugly at home. rents are falling dramatically but condo prices are unchanged, so that the rent would fail to cover the mortgage in literally every case where a purchase was made in the last 8 or so years. I don't know how that can go on, but...obviously doesn't bother you if you don't have a mortgage.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 4:38 AM
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Isn't NPH in the Aloha State? Or am I misremembering? I imagine the real estate market there is quite wacky.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 4:40 AM
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oh yeah, that's something I know nothing about.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 5:06 AM
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109: It really won't be that bad. It'll smell while you're turning it, but the odor clears up pretty fast once it's oxygenated -- hours, not days. And newspaper works for brown material if you don't have anything more dry-leaf like.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 5:12 AM
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basically it all comes down to the tenure thing, lah.

alameida is slipping into the local creole.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 6:20 AM
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singlish also can. my singlish very powerful one, lor.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 7:14 AM
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When my adviser was up for tenure, which was probably 20-odd years ago, the then-chair of this department waited until 5 p.m. on the last day of the academic/fiscal/whatever-it-was year to tell him that he got it--purely for fucking-with-his-head reasons. So there's that possibility. If Narnians are conservative, though, maybe they're not into those sorts of games. Good luck!


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 12:04 PM
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Did your advisor then bash the then-chair's head in? What a dick!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 12:06 PM
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106: I had, in fact, concluded I needed to turn it. I just was so not looking forward to it. Nor are my neighbours, probably. If they knew about it. Perhaps I should wait till the day before I go away on holiday. Need dry brown material.

[I kept meaning to weigh in on the big compost doohickey, but I did not.]

The important thing to realize about compost piles is that they're little bacteria farms, and a pile can be modeled after two different enviroments: the forest floor enviroment and the swamp. On a forest floor, all those fallen leaves accumulate (along with dust and animal shit) and form a nice protective layer; underneath the worms are churning the soil and eating the rotting wet leaves. In a swamp, dead vegetable matter is completely saturated in water, so there's no free oxygen and the bacteria that survive in that enviroment generate methane, which stinks. The other possible enviroment is essentially artificial, and I'll call that enviroment the giant pile of horse shit. In that enviroment, if you mound up a lot of shit, it will cook inside. Unfortunately, the cooking will cause the inside to be sealed off from the outside, and the happy, oxygen breathing bacteria will be routed by the miserable, evil, farting bacteria.

That generates a lot of methane, and creating CO2 instead of methane is most of the point of refusing to send grass clippings to the dump. So a bad-smelling pile is the diagnostic test: if it smells, something is wrong. Usually, not enough oxygen, but sometimes it is because of too much water. That's where the turning comes in; if you have a big enough pile, every other day or more, sometimes. (Having a container that's too tightly closed will also cause the same problem.)

If you don't want to mess with it all the time, or you just don't have a large enough waste stream to make it worth the trouble, I suggest you go the 'cold' compost route. A basic method would be to drive four posts into the ground and wrap the outside with chicken wire so as to make a 3' x 3' x 3' cube, open at the top. Then, on the bottom, you put big sticks or some 2x4's or something similar not packed tightly together. Then you pile on leaves and grass and whatnot (swept-up dust, the contents of the vacuum cleaner bad, whatever), occasionally adding more sticks or branches, or entire stalks. And you leave it, just adding stuff to the top, for a long time. It will warm up enough to keep bugs out of the middle without heating up too much or going methane-y.

For example: I have some grass clippings and lots of leaves, but not enough to be worth the trouble to mess with too. More importantly, I have gobs and gobs of broken branches and wood. So I laid out a bunch of thick branches into a 3x8 shape, and then I started piling smaller branches and grass clippings and leaves on top. I haven't really turned it, just relocated one section from the side to the top. Last fall it was about three-four foot high from the addition of the dry leaves and come the spring it was about 2 foot high. So I put my boots on and tromped all over it which, along with ongoing decay, made it a foot high or so. All of which meant I go continue stacking on more sticks and leaves (from trimming trees). In the 2'x1' section I just moved (it wasn't high enough, so I was clearing a spot to build from the bottom), there were some bugs near the edges, along with a few slugs, two dozen happy worms and about a 2" thick layer of mostly-finished compost. I just shifted the entire mess over to the top of the pile. The worms will tunnel their way back down to the bottom.

A pile like that won't heat up enough to sterilize (not a worry if you don't throw in shit and meat scraps), but it will heat up enough that the bugs don't like the middle. I should also note that the original reason I put it where it is, is so the sound of rain falling three stories from the would be less intrusive. I probably should water the front more, since the back where the dripline is, is shrinking faster.

max
['Now this is late. But you know, it's fucking raining.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 4:41 PM
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generate methane, which stinks

Methane is odorless.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 4:48 PM
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going methane-y

What does jazz guitar have to do with it?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 4:49 PM
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||
Somewhat on topically, but mostly not:

Academic interviewing is stressful and annoying. Wish me luck for the 2nd round tomorrow

(upside: really beautiful beaches to go unwind on when it's all over)
|>


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 4:52 PM
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111, 112: Yeah, the market here is something of a thing unto itself, but I do think it has some distance to drop yet. My willingness to buy now has a lot to do with the fact that I'd also be selling now in about the same price range I'd be buying. And we would expect to be in the next house for long enough that buying right at the bottom doesn't look as important as getting ourselves a little more space for the soon-to-arrive six years of having a teenager in the house.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 4:59 PM
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122: I assume these beaches aren't located anywhere I'd know where to find a beer, but if that's not the case, the email below works when I remember to check it. And my bimonthly beer money check arrives tomorrow.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 5:03 PM
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122: Good luck! (And hooray for nice beaches.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 5:07 PM
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122: Good luck, soup!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07- 1-09 5:08 PM
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119: Last year I had another online conversation about compost bins, with someone in Illinois. A few days later, having dinner with my parents, I mentioned this (compost bin for neutral conversation matter across the family dinner table - FTW!) and they looked positively startled "You have conversations about your compost bin with people thousands of miles away?" and I managed not to reply "Sure, doesn't everyone?"

(They're both online, but neither of them do blogging or Facebook or have a journalsite, and I'm just as glad about that.)

(Thank you, Max.)


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 1:51 AM
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Best of luck, soup!

Sir K and I will be in Houston this weekend. You have any freetime these days? Kraab e-mailed you but we're not sure if it's a current address.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07- 2-09 7:11 AM
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